Keeping up the OHS Museum

Gabe Cardiff

The Owatonna High School is known for it’s sport teams and ranking in the Big 9 conference, and it stands out among other communities and schools in its area. But there’s something else that stands out about the OHS. The OHS Museum is one of the largest high school museums in Minnesota. The museum contains items and stories from the past 144 years the OHS has existed. People can find artifacts and pictures from all three OHS buildings, sports gear, uniforms, the old mascot costume from the days of the Owatonna Indians, the first Husky costume and historic events that have affected OHS and it’s students, like World War II, when seniors were allowed to graduate early in order to go fight in the war. Only half of what has been donated and collected is on display; the rest is stored in a small room behind the Media Center. There are binders from every graduating class from the 1870s to today. In these binders are images, stories and events of senior classes, sporting events and teams, alumni, class members who succeed in some substantial way and obituaries of classmates who passed away. Two copies of yearbooks and Magnet newspaper publications from each school year are kept in a filing cabinet. Shelves are full of old books and technology like old light fixtures from the 1920s, an old typewriter, microscope, early generation desktop computer and a globe with countries that no longer exist like East and West Germany and the Soviet Union.

With all that must be kept organized, cleaned and up to date, a decently sized team of people is needed. The OHS used to have a group of people in charge, but in recent years, the only man behind the museum is curator and former OHS principal Darryl Hill, who served as principal from 1968 to 1996. Recently, Hill scheduled a meeting on Nov. 22, for volunteers to come in and organize piles of donated and collected papers and put them into the correct binder of the graduating year it belonged to. Five community members- Jim Oelschlager, Alma Asbell, Marilyn Nash, 1947 OHS class member Jean McGregor and former biology teacher Nels Thompson- and Hill sorted through piles of paper which belonged to the binders of the 1940s and 50s. Some stayed in the back office and went through new items. Hill said, “It would great to get a team of people who can keep this going. It would be nice to have students help organize the recent graduating classes of OHS along with this year’s class.” At the end of the night, the volunteers had successfully organized the senior classes of the 40s and 50s. Another meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov 11, at 2:35 p.m for students and Thursday, Nov. 12, at 6:30 p.m. for anyone, in the OHS Media Center. The more volunteers, the more the OHS Museum improves and continues to stand out and show community pride for the Owatonna High School.